Burn Fat, Build Muscle and Transform Your Body Forever
with the Secrets of Bodybuilders and Fitness Models

A Unique New Twist On The Old Low Carb Diet:
How Bodybuilders And Fitness Models Do It

are carbs evil

By Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle

Are Carbs Evil Fat-Storing Monsters?

Many people believe carbs not only make you fat, they believe carbs are unhealthy as well. I don't agree.

On the other hand, I like reducing carbs for maximizing fat loss. Contradiction? Not so.

I simply use carb reductions in a unique and different way than the average weight loss dieter does and I approach it with a different mindset.

Many bodybuilders, fitness models and physique athletes use low carb diets, and they are the leanest athletes in the world.

The Best Fat Loss Diet Of All?

I'll even go as far as saying that, although there are many diets and macro levels that can work, provided you consistently maintain a calorie deficit, restricting carb calories is probably the most effective approach of them all... if it's done intelligently.

I'm always surprised when I get an email or see a comment from someone who thinks I'm against low carb diets.

Why do some people think I'm anti-low carb? I don't know. Maybe it's because I've spoken out against the old school low carb thinking, where some devotees still believe carbs are inherently fattening, "bad" (even "evil") foods and that carbs and insulin drive fat gain, independent of excess calories.

Maybe it's because they've seen my muscle-building (aka "bulking") meal plans, which have a very large amount of carbs - usually at least half my total calories from carbs.

Or maybe it's because they see my fat loss meal plans and they notice I still eat 175 to 200 grams of carbs per day (the woman's equivalent might be 120-130 grams or so). I consider that "low carb," but most old-school low carbers wouldn't dream of eating "that many" carbs even on the long-term maintenance phase.

Well, How Do You Define "Low Carb" Then... How Low is Low?

There are so many different types of reduced carb diets out there, the definition of low carb has gotten pretty fuzzy.

For example, I've seen diet reviews that call the Zone diet "low carb" even though it prescribes 40% of the calories from carbs. I've heard many people refer to paleo as low carb, when the carbs, according to Loren Cordain himself (author of the original Paleo Diet Book), could run anywhere from 22% to 40% (Cordain does refer to this as "moderate" carb).

On the other end, some people don't think anything is "low carb" unless it's under 100 grams a day or even a full-blown ketogenic diet. So...

Let me clarify the type of reduced carb diet I use:

I use the bodybuilding style of low-to-medium carb, high protein diet (low to moderate fat). If your goal is less fat and more muscle, you could use it too, so keep reading - even if you're not a bodybuilder - because this melts fat like a blowtorch on butter.

Bodybuilding nutrition, which I've been teaching to my readers of all ages and backgrounds for years in Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, has phases that you shift in and out of based on your goal at the moment:

Phase I is "baseline nutrition" for maintenance, muscle gain and long-term lifestyle (generous amounts of healthy carbs). Phase II is for maximized fat loss (moderate carbs), and Phase III is the contest diet (low carbs) - the strictest and lowest carb of the three.

The fat loss phases (Phase II or Phase III) have the following characteristics:

Bodybuilding And Physique-Style "Low" Carb Diets For Maximum Fat Loss:

1. The diet is low to medium carb; it is not zero carb, very low carb or ketogenic.
2. The diet does not prescribe one amount of carbs for everyone - it acknowledges individual body types, considers training volume and allows a customized approach.
3. Carb amounts are the most you can get away with (and still lose fat), not the least you can tolerate
4. The diet usually uses "carb cycling", a method of non-linear dieting
5. The diet is high in protein, not high in fat

I fully acknowledge that some people succeed on ketogenic diets, which are extremely low in carbs and higher in fat (with less protein). A handful of people may even thrive on them and get better health outcomes (contrary to conventional wisdom).

However, after researching and then experimenting with keto diets years ago, I found they didn't suit me or support my intensive weight training. I found the near-complete removal of carbs inflexible, distasteful and difficult to live with - physically AND mentally.

I prefer the cyclical low or medium carb bodybuilding diet and after I discovered how to do it, I never turned back.

The bodybuilder's way supports intense training and is designed for improving body composition, not just losing weight.

There's a big difference between losing weight and transforming your body.

Phase I: Baseline nutrition

In my fat loss system, there are three phases, from basic to advanced. The first phase is the baseline nutrition plan. This is designed to be very balanced and maintainable. Carbs are usually not restricted, but they are carefully chosen healthy and nutrient-dense carbs.

There are 3 parts to a fat-burning or muscle-building meal in Phase I:
1. Lean protein
2. Fibrous carb
3. Starchy carb

Here's an example of a typical lunch or dinner using this baseline (Phase I) template:
1. Baked tilapia (lean protein)
2. Broccoli (fibrous carb)
3. White Potato (starchy carb)

Here's an example of a typical breakfast - Phase I:
1. 1 whole egg, 5 egg whites scrambled (lean protein)
2. Omelet veggies - mushrooms, bell peppers, tomato, etc (fibrous carb)*
3. Oatmeal (starchy carb)
* a fruit could easily be added or substituted for the veggies - example, berries or a banana

Phase II: Maximized Fat Loss

When your goal shifts from muscle gain or maintenance into accelerated fat loss, what you need to focus on first is CALORIE DEFICIT, NOT CARBS.

Even if this is just semantics or a technicality (because carbs have calories and if you reduce carbs, you reduce calories), please let this point sink in or you may end up like those (well-meaning, but mistaken) low carb zealots who think "carbs are bad" and calories don't matter.

To lose fat, you need a calorie deficit, so that means you have to reduce calories below maintenance level. What I'm asking you to think about is where do you pull out the calories? You could cut calories across the board - just eat less of everything in the Phase I meal plan - and yes, that absolutely will work.

But the ideal way to create your calorie deficit is to drop down the starchy carbs.

Why? Let me count the ways: 1. Because keeping protein high on a hypocaloric fat loss diet is important for retaining lean body mass, 2. protein controls appetite, 3. starches are calorie dense, 4. starches are easy to overeat, 5. extreme carb restriction may have negative hormonal consequences, 6. you need to keep the fiber up, and 7. you also need to eat healthy fats for reasons too numerous to list.

So the no-brainer place to create a calorie deficit for a maximum fat loss diet is by cutting back on starchy carbs and grains.

Let me backtrack: If you were taking in a lot of refined grains or sugars, they are actually the first to go, but I'm assuming you're not eating a ton of sugar and refined carbs to begin with - we don't do that even on a baseline maintenance plan.

Lunch or dinner example - Phase II:
1. Baked tilapia (lean protein)
2. Broccoli (fibrous carb)
3. White Potato (starchy carb) - Reduced portion

Breakfast example - Phase II:
1. 1 whole egg, 5 egg whites scrambled (lean protein)
2. Omelet veggies - mushrooms, peppers, tomato, etc (fibrous carb*)
3. Oatmeal (starchy carb) - Reduced portion
* a fruit could be substituted for the veggies - example, berries or a banana.

Phase III: The "Contest Diet"

As a diet progresses, fat loss typically slows down as your body adapts in various ways to the weight loss and calorie restriction. Almost everyone can relate to how the last bit of fat can seem like the most stubborn or difficult to lose.

To get past this plateau, and reach your peak condition or final goal, you can take another calorie reduction. Again, you want to leave those vital lean proteins and fibrous carbs alone, so you reduce the starchy carbs even more.

For some people, almost all the starchy carbs are removed. For others, especially those who are large and training very hard, they remain, but in small quantities and only after training sessions (and also most commonly, for breakfast to get a good start on the day).

Lunch or dinner example - Phase III:
1. Salmon (lean protein with healthy fat)
2. Broccoli (fibrous carb)
* no starchy carb except in post-workout meal and or breakfast
* Contest diets are strict in many ways, but note that all this food can be seasoned and prepped deliciously

And there you have it! The contest diet is mostly lean proteins, fibrous carbs (green veggies, salad veggies and other non-starchy vegetables). Healthy fats are always included somewhere in the daily meal plan - or provided by supplements - and if the calories get too low (in the absence of concentrated carbs), the percentage of fats can be increased further.

Did you catch the 1 major food tweak that's the real difference between low carb FAD diets, and reduced carb diets that are used successfully by bodybuilders and physique athletes? ...

Most people have a million questions about specifics (minutia): what foods to eat or the percentage of each macro or what time to eat or when to do the carb cycling and so on, some of which are relevant or even important. But this is where we end today's lesson because the purpose of this article has been to simplify and make one major point. More details would only serve to complicate.

The real difference between doing this right and wrong is, don't look at those starchy carbs as bad, dirty, forbidden or... "evil!" Instead, let's call them "optional." Better still, let's call them a "variable" - an "X factor."

Eat more carbs during maintenance or muscle gain programs. As your goal shifts to fat loss and as your fat loss phase progresses, speeding up fat loss or getting past sticking points is a simple matter of adjusting your calories by tweaking that X factor.

You're basically manipulating 1 thing: starchy carbs. Everything else stays mostly the same! Keep your lean protein high and eat a lot of fibrous carbs and green veggies (think "LEAN AND GREEN!") Be sure to keep some healthy fats in the plan too.

Bottom line: Keep it simple!

Want To Learn More?

If you want to learn more, the complete system is explained in my book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. Just flip right to chapter 19: "How To Accelerate Your Fat Loss."

You can pick up the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Book at Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, buy from your favorite independent bookseller, or order online at Amazon.com:

Amazon: www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804137846

Train hard and expect success!

Tom Venuto,
Author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: The Bible of Fat Loss

PS. We've seen thousands of people transform their bodies in as little as 49 days with Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle James used it to cut his body fat below 5% and get ripped abs! Shannon melted her belly fat and added lean muscle even though she struggled with hypothyroidism and major fat gain after her second child was born. This is not just for bodybuilders. This program will work for just about anyone who is willing to make the commitment and work hard.

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